Tips for Scholarship Eligibility: For former foster or adopted children & birth parents

On occasion, CHI is contacted by parents seeking financial aid resources for their child’s journey to college.  As result, we’ve compiled a list of resources relevant to individuals who have experienced being a foster, adoptive child or birth parent.

  1. It appears that resources change and evolve – please consider these links as a starting place for your own research.
  2. Talk with the schools you are interested in & overtly ask about award & aid for what they refer to as “unique” situations. These may include circumstances like being a single parent, orphan or foster care recipient. They may have a unique scholarship pool that your child may eligible for.
  3. Foster care recipient scholarships are typically awarded directly from schools or small organizations. Ask what’s available as you consider school options.
  4. Public and private scholarships originate at the state and federal levels, providing access to college for former foster children.  Each program employs unique application protocols, so specifics are best handled by individual program administrators and campus financial aid offices.
  5. Fresno State’s Renaissance Program offers grants and loans that are exclusively available to the subset of students who are adopted or currently in foster care.
  6. The National Foster Parent Association offers scholarships to NFPA members whose birth, foster and US adopted youth wish to further their education beyond high school, including college or university studies, vocational/technical school or junior college.  Scholarships are awarded to high school-level students who are graduating or getting their GED.  The parents, or adult, of a scholarship applicant must be a member, or join, the NFPA.
  7. Casey Family Programs is dedicated to improving the child welfare system and  providing educational opportunities for foster children.  Organizations like Foster Care to Success administer Casey Family scholarship dollars for needy foster children.  Applicants who were in foster care for at least one year prior to reaching their 18th birthday are eligible to compete for annual scholarships worth $1500 – $6000. Casey Family Scholarships enable foster youth under the age of 25 to attend national colleges and universities.
  8. Horatio Alger Scholarships disburses between $2,500 and $10,000 annually, to each qualified recipient. Funds can be used to finance undergraduate education for needy adopted students pursuing bachelor’s degrees at accredited American colleges and universities.
  9. Change a Life Foundation’s Scholarship Program is designed to bridge the financial gap for college-bound students. Scholarships assist economically disadvantaged students who excel academically to attend the university or college of their choice. Scholarships are awarded up to $5,000 for unmet university expenses in the areas of tuition, housing, meal plan, books, and health insurance. The Foundation awards college scholarships to amazing students from various counties as well as to Emancipated Youth from all over California. The Foundation also provides Scholarship Renewal Awards for scholars to reapply for a second year of funding.
  10. Research State-Specific Foster Child Scholarships and Tuition Waiver Programs which can be rich with opportunities for former foster care and adopted students seeking aid.
  11. The Adoption Network Law Center Scholarship Program gives back to the adoption community and shows support to Birth Parents and Adoptees who are interested in pursuing higher education. Adoption Network Law Center awards up to $10,000 in scholarships in November, in honor of National Adoption Month.Please comment on this post, if you find sources we should add to our list. Thank you and best wishes on your child’s journey to a higher education.

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